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Americans for Prosperity (bankrolled by the Koch Brothers) is getting the members of the Tea Party all riled up against solar power in Georgia using direct mail packed with alarming lies about huge rate increases to come if Georgia Power would include a mandate to transition to providing some target percentage of renewable power in their 20 year plan being formulated now.

Your daily jolt: Solar power divides two Georgia tea party groups

By Jim Galloway

We also told you that McDonald’s initiative, to be voted on by the five-member utility board next week, had the endorsement of Debbie Dooley, a national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots.

Another tea party group has now entered the fray – on the opposite side. From Walter Jones of Morris News Service:

Americans for Prosperity emailed its 50,000 Georgia members urging them to oppose requiring more solar. It argues that unless its members take action their bills could increase 40 percent.

Virginia Galloway, Americans for Prosperity’s state director and one of the earliest organizers of the anti-tax rallies in 2009 that spawned the tea-party movement, says renewable-energy mandates in other states led to 40-percent higher electricity costs.

“It’s like saying you have to buy groceries this week and you have to buy a certain amount from Whole Foods ... and I can get everything at Publix less expensively,” she said.

The reference to “fossil fuel interests”? Yes, that would be the Koch brothers, who largely bankroll AFP.
The reality is the costs of solar power have been dropping precipitously recently.
The bright spot for the U.S. solar market in 2013: home roof tops

The utility market, in which solar power projects are built for utilities or for selling power to utilities, will likely set a record by installing 2.3GW of solar panels in 2013. The first quarter of this year saw the completion of 24 utility scale projects. The average price for a utility system dropped 26 percent year over year to reach $2.14 per watt during the first quarter of 2013.

So there we have it. Some delusional obscenely rich brothers can write a check, calling on their gullible political pawns to screw their own children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren out of a less diminished quality of life. And many who read the Koch Brothers' lies about solar power, will accept them at face value without any verification.

Originally posted to Lefty Coaster on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 02:03 PM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks, DK GreenRoots, Climate Change SOS, and Kos Georgia.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We can't leave our future in their hands (30+ / 0-)

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 02:02:45 PM PDT

  •  Are Koch Bros lying about solar being more... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    ..expensive than natural gas or coal-fired power plants?

    You're correct that solar power is falling.

    But solar is also far more expensive than carbon-based fuel.

    I'd also like to add that the primary reason why solar has fallen so much over the last couple of years is predatory trade strategy in China.  

    China has built up so much capacity that it's exporting solar at well below cost, precipitating the US and the EU to accuse China of engaging in unlawful trade practices.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

    by PatriciaVa on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 02:22:16 PM PDT

    •  Compared to 50 year old coal plants, yes. (5+ / 0-)

      Compared to newly-built power sources of any kind, no.

    •  solar is...far more expensive than carbon-based.. (4+ / 0-)

      For whom?  Why are we soon retrofitting our 3rd (rental...) property? Because we are  spendthrift Green Meanies?

      I'll send you our calculations.

      Not to mention the tax treatment.

      Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world..-- Jack Layton

      by sturunner on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 03:18:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Coal and gas electricity both receive greater (4+ / 0-)

      subsidies and social costs than PV. Also, a recent power purchase agreement was just signed to provide PV electricity to the Albequerque market at a wholesale rate of 6 cents per kwh. While baseload stuff is still priced below that, peaking prices on the secondary market are 20 cents per kwh, and up from there. Throw on a carbon tax and PV hits the sweet spot in the market immediately.

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 04:04:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  U say, "carbon tax" so insouciantly (0+ / 0-)

        And per kilowatt hour, wind and solar receive FAR FAR greater taxpayer subsidies than carbon based sources.

        Who likes these sweetheart deals between state governments and PV companies?

        Government rentiers like Warren Buffet, who profits at the expense of the working and middle-class.

        Solar 15% Returns Lure Investments From Google to Buffett

        Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) together with the biggest Internet search company, the private equity company and insurers MetLife Inc. (MET) and John Hancock Life Insurance Co. poured more than $500 million into renewable energy in the last year. That’s the most ever for companies outside the club of banks and specialist lenders that traditionally back solar energy, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data.

        Once so risky that only government backing could draw private capital, solar projects now are making returns of about 15 percent, according to Stanford University’s center for energy policy and finance. That has attracted a wider community of investors eager to cash in on earnings stronger than those for infrastructure projects from toll roads to pipelines.

        Long-term power-purchase contracts are the key to making solar a reliable investment, Harris said. Utilities in sunny states such as California, Arizona and Nevada have agreed to pay premiums for electricity generated by sunshine.

        In California, where the largest plants are beginning to produce power, regulators approved contracts in 2010 for utilities to pay $161 to $232 a megawatt-hour for solar energy. That’s at least four times the $40 average wholesale price in Southern California at the time. Most such contracts are confidential to promote competition.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

        by PatriciaVa on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 06:10:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What crap! How do the "subsidies" for renewables (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          possibly rival the costs for inevitable global warning that the hydrocarbon status quo will engender?

          Do you really want to try to equate the cost of Investment Tax credits and net metering with the near certain extinction of civilization as we know it?

          If so, you're coming from a truly warped place.

          Oh, and just to change the subject only slightly (thoughof course, you'll make it into the biggest deal in the world) how about the exemption from civil liability that the federal government (U.S. society) grants to the nuclear power industry?

          There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

          by oldpotsmuggler on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:19:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  those Chinese factories (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      are what killed Solyndra. They couldn't compete with the subsidized (by the Chinese) PVs.

      (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

      by PJEvans on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:27:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, they are lying. (0+ / 0-)

      Here is an example of pricing from New Mexico. This is utility solar, which will be less expensive than residential:

      According to a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between El Paso Electric Company and First Solar, electricity will be sold from First Solar’s thin-film solar panels to El Paso Electric Company for 5.8 cents per kWh (a good 4-8 cents cheaper than new coal, which is in the 10-14 cents per kWh range).
      I don't know about you, but 5.8 cents per kWh sounds pretty good. (Actually, not as good as what I have on my house, solar panels that I got through Solar City and I have a contract guaranteeing 4.3 cents per kilowatt hour.)

      Additionally: (LCOE stands for Levelized Cost of Energy)

      If you’re inclined to bring up subsidies, it should be noted that a Harvard Medical School study found that coal costs us an additional 9-27 cents per kWh in health costs. In a perfect world (economically), that would be added onto the LCOE of coal mentioned at the top (the 10-14 cents per kWh figure). That would bring the LCOE to 19-41 cents per kWh. Additionally, coal has received subsidies for about a century that dwarf anything solar has received.
      And, we didn't even bring in the discussion or cost of climate change. So, yes the Koch brothers are "pants on fire" lying.


    •  Solar trumps toxic coal/fracking gas, period. (0+ / 0-)

      Solar trumps toxic coal/fracking gas, period. It is scaring Georgia Power, and threatening their monopoly. How can a so-called Tea Party minion support such a monopoly? Bought off?

      Why aren't those GOP-TP minions who don't understand how utility subsidies/accelerated depreciation/DOE gifting- and grifter-ring prop up toxic energy ever question the lack of real jobs that the fossil/nuklear (bush the lesser pronoun-ciationism, there)  stiff us with? Solar makes lots of jobs, here, and everywhere.

      A domestic solar industry works. Whether it's solar thermal hot water in homes (see: Japan, EU economic success stories), solar PV (again, look east or west), or mega-utility scale solar PV or solar thermal-electric (worldwide, but for Georgia), solar does work, and is certainly the future. fellow crackers wake up or keep paying the overlords.

      Solar PV carries only a 30% tax credit. While offshoring your Koch/Apple/Romney money can make your income 100% tax dodged. Oil exploitation-ration under bush the lesser got a $25 billion grifter-gift. Put that kind of subsidy in residential solar, and the utility stockholder is in trouble.

      Physical- and fiscal investment in solar, stateside, on your property in Georgia, does give your property a lower cost of occupancy and operations. And a greater market value--even in Georgia, an armpit of low literacy. We have very high rates for electricity, and asthma. And a lot of abused communities that host skanky Georgia Power fossil plants. Just this week another report (not in press in Georgia) shares what it's like in a GPC plant fall-out zone:

      Coal's slipping grip: Rural Georgia, weaning off coal, eyes its future.

      It's a well known premise of business valuation that lowering your operating costs by a dollar yields $10 in business market value; energy efficient homes, especially with solar PV, creates a buyer interest, and with Georgia Power's rate increases, and ever-increasing value and ROI.

      Georgia Power did file for another rate increase just last Friday afternoon, as usual, timed to miss the news. Only another 6% increase this time, but that's a great bonus return for those that signed on a solar system last week.

      The "Power" in Georgia Power Company (GPC, of Southern Company infamy) refers to their political power. According to the Wall Street Journal (before Murdoch, say, 1977) GPC had a bigger "Security Department" budget than Georgia's GBI. All the better to track their adversaries. They even kill their own, if they threaten their power and profits. Just search "Jake Horton, Southern VP, plane crash".

      Solar installers aren't killing off their empoyees and competitors...

      Florida Mystery Is Fueled By Intrigues and 4 Deaths - New York Times‎

      Fellow crackers, don't put that $20-, 30-, 40- thousand in your next SUV, and lose most of it over the next four or five years. GO SOLAR, and watch your money make money. With being dirty. Be FREE of the GPC monopoly, retain equity in your home or business, and even get a check from the dark side every month. Clear the air, too.

      Freedom from the worst monopoly amongst us is priceless.

  •  As opposed to the Vogtle Nuclear plant... (9+ / 0-)

    ...which probably will cost 40% more than "advertised" and be finished 24-30 months later than promised...if that soon.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 02:23:19 PM PDT

  •  Wind power cut our electric rates in half (8+ / 0-)

    Look, if conservatives want to spend more money, fine that's their problem.

    Up here the wind farms are built, spinning and churning out power.  And electric rates have fallen so far that the very conservative Republican government of my burb went out and purchased bulk power for the entire town, cutting our rates in half.

    The Republicans have been tripping over themselves telling everyone in town how much money we're saving by using wind power.

    So there is hope that people will see the light.  Green power will get cheaper and cheaper.  And eventually even the most crazy idealog on the Right will vote with his wallet.

    Personally I would stay away from the mandates.  The dumb will pay more, the smart will pay less.  Capitalism will work as it's supposed to.

  •  Nothing to see here. (4+ / 0-)

    YAWN. /snark

    Gee, if we could only get a few million yawners to join us on the Mall in D.C. so we could put an end to this dead end energy policy once in for all. Then they might prove useful to some people other than the plutocratic Republican masters they serve.

    Let sleeping yawners lie. ☮ ♥ ☺

    by Words In Action on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 02:37:49 PM PDT

  •  I can't imagine that I could have held onto my (7+ / 0-)

    house if I didn't have the solar panels that have defrayed my electricity costs. Nothing could prove the stupidity of the tea party any better than having them campaign to pay higher energy costs.

    Because freedom means making the rich richer.

  •  the Tea Party has a problem with reality (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx

    They are now marching around saying

    "We want higher electricity rates, and
    older technology".

  •  Dislike of solar power = tool of extractive (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero, jes2


    Capitalism HATES renewable/sustainable that everybody can have.

    May turn out to be the REAL reason marijuana is illegal: something nice for absolutely nothing.

    Solar power much the same.

    •  Excellent point, both have corporate enemies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xxdr zombiexx

      Solar really changes the game. Not all business entities sees renewables as a bad thing. Look at all of the industries that are buying their own solar or wind power, such as Walmart or Google. They see higher profits and reduced costs.

      Even some of the utilities realize that solar and wind will be a force and they are trying to figure out how to take advantage of it. That is why we are seeing cost savings whenever a utility adds in wind or solar.

      The world will move to a distributed generation model of energy and one which cuts out a large piece of the centralized utilities. I believe it will happen a lot faster than the Kochs of the world realize. And, there is little they can do, other than slow it down in the short term.

      Take that one step further and consider electric vehicles that can be used as energy storage units for homes during the evening, essentially moving many customers permanently off of a centralized grid and off oil.

  •  we've got a similar thing happening here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in Arizona.

    there's a website

    the is totally anti-solar, points a finger at that bad Californians who make a profit off the old folks here in AZ.  Jesus H Christ, alarmist crap coming from all quarters.

    The interesting thing is this website, warning us Arizonans, is actually set up by an outfit called 60 Plus Association, which berates the AARP's "liberal agenda" and is the "conservative answer to the AARP.

  •  Two solar stocks are killing Kochs' Chevron (0+ / 0-)

    Hopefully, you can see this stock chart:

    SPY is the S&P average; Chevron CVX roughly matches it. In comparison, two solar stocks First Solar FSLR & Solar Power SPWR are up 200% & 300% over the last year.

    Kochs are also deeply invested in interests which will be helped/hurt by the KXL pipeline.

    "All politics is national."

    by Auriandra on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 06:23:46 PM PDT

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